Can I File A Personal Injury Lawsuit If I Trip And Fall On A New York City Sidewalk?
If you’re injured because you tripped and fell on a broken or defective portion of the sidewalk, you can file a lawsuit for your injuries. However, who you would file a lawsuit against and what you have to prove differs based on a number of factors. In New York City, which is the five boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, sidewalk accident cases are covered under the New York City Administrative Code, which makes it the responsibility of the landowner adjoining the sidewalk to keep the sidewalk in good repair. There is an exception for single family homes and two-family homes, but any large commercial property owner has the obligation to maintain the sidewalk that runs alongside their property.
If you trip and fall on a broken sidewalk that runs alongside or in front of a commercial property, you would make a claim against the owner of the building for an accident that occurs in either the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan. If the accident occurs in an area of the sidewalk where there’s a residential property, then you would have to bring a claim against the City of New York. Our New York City trip and fall lawyers know that City of New York claims are tricky when involving the sidewalk because there are a lot more loopholes you have to jump through.
Under New York municipal law, anyone injured because of the City’s negligence has to file a notice of claim with the City of New York within 90 days of the accident to preserve the right to sue. Once you file that notice of claim, you then have a year and 90 days to bring a lawsuit. If you tripped and fell on the sidewalk outside of a business, you don’t have to file a notice of claim. The only exceptions are if you fell outside of a property which is owned by the City of New York or a property owned by a public authority, such as the New York City Transit Authority, the Port Authority, New York City Health and Hospital Corporation or some other public benefit corporation or authority.
If your case requires a notice of claim within 90 days of the occurrence and you don’t do that, you’d have to go to court and get special permission to file a lawsuit. Our New York City accident lawyers have won these motions on countless occasions for clients that come to us after the time in which they were supposed to file a notice of claim. Another wrinkle with cases against New York City is that New York has a law that requires you to prove either that the city affirmatively caused the defect or dangerous condition on the sidewalk or that the City of New York had prior written notice of the defective condition and failed to fix it in a reasonable time. That can be very difficult. However, our New York City personal injury lawyers have a lot of expertise in determining when the city did, in fact, negligently caused a sidewalk to be in a broken condition.
A lot of times, by just looking at the defects, our New York City broken sidewalk accident attorneys can tell if the construction of the sidewalk was done improperly. Our lawyers often consult with engineers to see what actually caused the defect. However, if your accident occurred alongside a regular commercial property on the sidewalk, you don’t have to prove prior written notice. All you have to do is show that the defect was present for long enough for them to have fixed it. With new technology, our New York personal injury lawyers have been able to prove this more and more frequently using Google maps. We are now able to go back in time and find that a crack, mis-leveling, or pothole has been present for years.
Get Information on Sidewalk Trip & Falls or call the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (212) 858-0503 and get the legal answers you are seeking.